Following a detailed report by the Very Rev. Dimitri Oselinsky, Treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America, in which he described the process of developing the OCA’s annual budget, and a presentation on the proposed “fair share” system for funding the work of the Church by the Very Rev. John Dresko, delegates voted adopted the Resolution on a Fair Share System of Giving on Thursday, July 25, 2002.
In their presentations, delivered at a plenary session on the preceeding day, Fathers Oselinsky and Dresko stressed the needs of the Church and the importance of funding those needs in a manner that will allow for growth and expansion of the Church’s existing and ongoing ministries and programs.
After discussion and clarification, clergy and lay delegates moved to accept the resolution, the text of which reads as follows:
• Whereas the 12th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America mandated that a 2003 operating budget of the Orthodox Church in America based on the needs of the Church be established by the Metropolitan Council at its Spring 2002 session for presentation to the 13th All-American Council held in Orlando, Florida, and
• Whereas the 12th All-American Council directed that the 13th All-American Council then determine how the 2003 operating budget of the Orthodox Church in America is to be ‘fair-shared’ out to the dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America, and
• Whereas the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America has established a 2003 operating budget based on the needs of the Church, which was then accepted and blessed by the Holy Synod of Bishops at its Spring 2002 session for reporting at the 13th All-American Council, and the 2003 operating budget has been reported to the 13th All-American Council;
• Therefore be it resolved that the 13th All-American Council establish a fair share system of funding the operating budgets of the Orthodox Church in America in the following manner:
• Upon adoption by the Metropolitan Council of the operating budget of the Orthodox Church in America, the Office of the Treasurer shall:
• 1. Apply the estimated income from the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards, planned gifts, endowment funds, miscellaneous contributions, and those dioceses not fully participating in the assessment system (i.e., all income other than the fair share support) to the adopted expenditure side of the budget.
• 2. Take the remainder of the income budgeted and divide it by the number of actual reported adult membership (as of September 1st of each year) from all the territorial diocesan and stavropighial parishes of the OCA to determine a per capita basis.
• 3. The Office of the Treasurer shall then inform each territorial diocese of the Orthodox Church in America, with the exception of the Diocese of Alaska and the Archdiocese of Canada, its fair share amount of expected budget support. The fair share shall be equal to that portion of total OCA membership the diocesan reported membership represents. The fair share amount shall be no greater than the equivalent of a per capita amount of $85.00. The diocesan bishop and diocesan treasurer shall be notified in writing of the expected diocesan fair share for the subsequent year, and a copy of the line-by-line budget for that year shall be forwarded to them.
• 4. Each diocesan council and diocesan bishop shall then decide on which method of collection used in their individual dioceses would meet local needs and education levels.
• 5. The financial support as apportioned by the diocese is to be established as a line item in the annual operating budget of the parish, and each parish shall remit one-twelfth of their fair share support to the diocesan office by the 15th of every month.
• 6. The diocese has the responsibility of forwarding, from the diocesan treasury, one-twelfth of the total diocesan fair share to the central administration by the last day of the month. The diocese remains responsible for collecting the current and delinquent fair share support from the individual parishes within its jurisdiction.
• 7. The Metropolitan Council is authorized to make such additional regulations regarding the computation and reporting of the fair share support, on the recommendation of the Central Church Administration, as may be necessary for the efficient collection of the funds due, and for the solvency and financial stability of the Orthodox Church in America.
• 8. All efforts are to be made to increase the voluntary financial support of the Orthodox Church in America, to educate the local faithful and parishes in matters of stewardship and biblical giving.
• 9. The 14th All-American Council shall review the fair share system of funding for further action and revision.”
Father Oselinsky noted that the territorial dioceses would be expected to fund the following percentages of the OCA Fair Share budget:
Diocese of the Midwest—24.7%
Diocese of New York/New Jersey—19.1%
Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania—15.4%
Diocese of Western Pennsylvania—11.5%
Diocese of New England—9.6%
Diocese of the West—8.9%
Diocese of the South—7.2%
Diocese of Washington—3.6%
His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada explained the means by which the non-territorial Dioceses, the Diocese of Alaska, and the Archdiocese of Canada contribute to the financial support of the Church.
In addition to the reports delivered by Fathers Oselinsky and Dresko the day before the resolution was adopted, the Very Rev. Andrew Morbey led Council delegates and observers in a Bible Study on the theme, “The Parish Community: A Life Worthy of the Gospel” and guided participants in table discussions on Philippians 4:1-3.
Reports on the two Church-Wide Initiatives adopted at the 12th All-American Council in 1999—the first providing summer internships for seminarians and the second involving the FOCUS Education Curriculum—were also given.
The highly successful initiatives will become a regular part of the Church’s ministry.
Numerous theme workshops and luncheon forums were also held on Wednesday and Thursday. Topics included outreach to the elderly, coping with the loss of one’s spouse, ministering to trauma survivors, youth ministry, liturgical music, religious education, deanery-based youth ministry efforts, and pastoral care of the dying.
At the beginning of Thursday’s plenary session, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman introduced and welcomed His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Canada of the Patriarchate of Romania; and His Grace, Bishop Basil of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The three guest hierarchs offered greetings to Metropolitan Herman and Council delegates and observers.